Local Soccer: Hapoel Tel Aviv edges away from relegation worries

Also Saturday, Hapoel Kfar Saba and Maccabi Petah Tikva both lost once again and could find themselves in the relegation mix.

hapoel TA soccer 224.88 (photo credit: AP)
hapoel TA soccer 224.88
(photo credit: AP)
Hapoel Tel Aviv claimed three more important points in its fight for Premier League survival on Saturday, defeating Maccabi Herzliya 2-1 at Bloomfield Stadium. The victory takes Hapoel above Herzliya in the standings and mounts the pressure on the struggling Maccabi Tel Aviv and Ashdod SC, which face off on Sunday night. Also Saturday, Hapoel Kfar Saba and Maccabi Petah Tikva both lost once again and could find themselves in the relegation mix should Ashdod win on Sunday. Kfar Saba, which has won just once in its last 10 matches, was defeated 4-0 at home to Betar Jerusalem, with Derek Boateng (12th minute), Yoav Ziv (43), Gal Alberman (65) and Idan Tal (86) scoring for the defending champion. Jerusalem was in control for the entire game and delighted its fans for a second 4-0 win in a row after last week's defeat of Maccabi Petah Tikva. Petah Tikva, which hasn't won in its last seven matches, fell 1-0 to second-placed Maccabi Netanya thanks to Thierry Tazemeta's 46th minute goal. Maccabi Haifa climbed to third place in the standings with a 2-1 home victory over Ironi Kiryat Shmona on Saturday. In the ninth minute Haifa's Brazilian Renato scored a superb opener, but Yero Bello equalized for the visitors in the 50th minute with a controversial goal. Haifa appeared to be in trouble after Diego Crosa was sent off in the 57th minute, but South African striker Thembinkosi Fanteni scored his third goal of the week from the penalty spot in the 76th minute, giving the hosts all three points. Also Saturday, Bnei Yehuda defeated Bnei Sakhnin 3-1, claiming just its fourth win of the season. Hapoel Tel Aviv 2, Maccabi Herzliya 1 Hapoel seized control of the match right from the kickoff and took the lead in the eighth minute. Bulgarian Dimitar Telkiyski was brought down in the box and Shay Abutbul coolly converted the spot kick. The hosts were happy to settle for their slender lead and paid the price for their defensive tactics two minutes after the interval. Hapoel defender Omri Canada handled the ball in the box and Omer Buksenboim scored the penalty to tie the score. Tel Aviv would, however, regain its lead almost immediately after fan favorite Bibres Natcho tucked in the winner in the 54th minute. "These are very precious points," Hapoel coach Eli Gutman said. "We didn't play very well, but we only have one goal - to avoid relegation. This is a very significant win as we have now leapfrogged Herzliya."